by Steven Bateson
Josh Warrington produced the performance of his career with a tremendous twelve round split decision over Lee Selby to win the IBF Featherweight Championship in front of a raucous Elland Road in Leeds on Saturday night.
Most doubted Warrington’s world credentials but he proved them all wrong as he outhustled, outfought and outboxed the overwhelming favourite Lee Selby in front of his adoring fans.
Warrington was on fire from the get go but instead of hunting Selby he allowed the champion to come towards him and then beat him to the punch with blistering punches to head and body. Selby looked ruffled in close and Warrington was pushing him back against the ropes time and again, the two fighters constantly entangled in clinches that left Selby with a horrible cut over his left eye.
The blood was pouring and a left hand in the second seemed to momentarily stiffen the legs of the champion, who looked shellshocked at the task that was in front of him. Selby got behind his jab in the third and showed a little more of skillset but Warrington was back on the gas pedal in the fourth, banging to the body and then moving upstairs with solid overhand shots. Selby has a tendency to stand tall out of the clinch and back away in straight lines, two mistakes that Warrington was capitalising on time and again.
There have been talks that Lee Selby struggles with the Featherweight limit and perhaps that played a part in his performance but that takes nothing away from Warrington’s performance, he was the better man on the night by a considerable distance.
Selby hit a crunching right hand around the guard in round five but Warrington answered back straight away with a left hand of his own, the tale of the whole fight as the challenger answered everything thrown at him and paid it back twice over. In round six, Selby was then cut over his other eye and the referee looked on the verge of stopping the fight but Selby’s corner convinced the official to let their man continue although he never pushed on from that reprieve.
Selby was trying to get behind his jab a little more and his movement looked tidier in seven and eight but nothing in his arsenal was deterring Warrington from pouring forward and landing shots at will. Every time it looked like the challenger may fade from the pace he drew the energy of the crowd and stepped up another gear, something that Selby just could not match.
Warrington was dominant now, bullying Selby around the ring, and in close he was letting his hands go with lightning combinations to head and body that had Selby stumbling for safety. Selby may never have been in serious danger of being stopped but the rounds were slipping away and in the championship rounds it was clear he needed multiple knockdowns or even a knockout to hang onto his title.
He could not muster either, however, and although he had occasional success with his left hand to the head and body he was overwhelmed and outscored by a challenger who just would not be denied. There will be comparisons drawn in the future about this victory and Ricky Hatton’s win over Kostya Tsyzu, both men rising to a new platform and showing a new level to their game in front of their own fans who inspired them to perform beyond what anybody considered possible.
Selby, covered in his own blood, looked forlorn and well beaten at the final bell and although he complained about Warrington’s use of the head and rabbit punching it was clear that his corner knew their man had just lost his world title to a hungrier, more determined fighter.
The split decision was poor, nobody in their right mind could have believed Lee Selby won the fight but fortunately the two other judges scored it correctly and the rightful winner was crowned.
Warrington upset the odds and his gameplan was executed to a tee. He is a deserved world champion and huge fights now lie ahead of him. Talk of him and Carl Frampton at Windsor Park in August for a first title defence have begun and that would be a monumental occasion for British boxing.
Scorecards read: 115-113 Selby, 116-112 Warrington, 115-113 Warrington
Adams marches on toward World
Nicola Adams wowed her hometown fans as she steamrolled Soledad del Valle Frias in the very first round of a scheduled ten.
Adams was on point from the get go, displaying sublime footwork and a killer instinct that should propel her right into contention for world championships, treading water is a pointless exercise for such a talent.
Frias was pummelled all around the ring and the end always looked seconds away , although there may be question marks over how long the round went because women’s bouts are supposed to go two minutes not three. Adams closed the show by trapping her opponent in the corner before unloading with two brutal right hands and followed up with a right hook to the body and then a devastating left to the ribs that left Frias in agony and unable to beat the count.
Frias is a former world title challenger at Bantamweight but she was absolutely no match for Adams, adding more weight to the claim that Adams, as a double Olympic champion, should be competing against the very best fighters that the Super Flyweight division has to offer even after just four fights.
The nature of the finish means there will be a case for appeal from Frias’ team potentially the result may even be changed to a no contest but it makes no difference to where Adams’ career is heading, she is head and shoulders above this kind of level and the only meaningful fights for her are against the women currently holding world championships.
Tetley beats Cartwright in War of Roses
Bradford’s Darren Tetley secured a ninth round referee stoppage over Mason Cartwright in an absorbing contest between two unbeaten fighters for the WBO European Welterweight Championship.
Cartwright seemed to control the earlier rounds and could not miss with his right hand, constantly snapping the head back of Tetley with deadly regularity, but Tetley was game and active, just not throwing enough shots to swing the stanzas in his favour.
Tetley (now 16-0 with 7 KO’s) was circling too much to his left, always in firing range of Cartwright’s right hand, but in the fifth round he seemed to start drawing on the energy of the crowd and was finding his own range. Cartwright was breathing a little heavier, after setting a hectic pace early doors, and Tetley was growing in stature. The Yorkshireman went to the body in the sixth and then back upstairs with neater combinations, bloodying Cartwright’s nose as it appeared the tide was turning.
Cartwright, however, had other ideas and came out swinging in round seven, a huge right hand answering questions that he was fading from proceedings. A left and a right combination had Tetley’s legs stiffening slightly but he was showing his own resilience, answering back with body work and cuffing hooks.
Round eight was the pick of the fight as Tetley caught Cartwright with a left hook whilst the Ellsemere Port fighter was loading up, Cartwright stumbled and touched down for a mandatory eight count. He complained that he had slipped but Tetley wasn’t buying it and poured it on, roughhousing Cartwright as he battered the body and scored with another two big lefts. Cartwright staggered onto the ropes, looking weary, but then fired back with a crunching right hand of his own as the crowd roared both men on.
The end came in round number nine when Tetley caught Cartwright with a thunderous left hook and seconds later it was clear that Cartwright was in trouble. The referee called in the doctor to take a look and he ruled the bout off, citing a sickening split in Cartwright’s lip as his reasoning. It was the correct call but as Cartwright was ahead on two of the three scorecards at the time of the stoppage there will be big calls for these two men to rematch later this year.
It was a terrific advert for boxing and I don’t think there’ll be anybody disappointed if the re-match does happen. Tetley, however, may choose to pursue the British title route.
Willie Hutchinson scored his fourth successive career victory with a four round decision over perennial journeyman Adam Jones. There are high hopes for the 19 year old Scottish prospect, his skills speak for themselves, but time will tell how his career progresses.
Jack Catterall just walked through late substitute Christopher Sabire in the first round of a scheduled ten for the WBO Inter-Continental Title, the referee stopping the bout with the Frenchmen claiming a dislocated shoulder.
Sabire was down in the first round from a left hand and on landing seemed to hurt his shoulder. He didn’t look comfortable in the slightest and was shipping plenty of punishment from the Chorley man, injured or not it was only a matter of time until Catterall got the job done.
Catterall (now 21-0 with 12 KO’s), a former British Champion, seems to be biding his time for a potential world championship fight (talks about a meeting with the winner of Terry Flanagan-Maurice Hooker for the WBO Super Lightweight Title) but in reality his team should be testing him against fringe level world tier in order to prepare him for what lies ahead. Catterall has some solid domestic victories on his ledger but not one win that displays the kind of capabilities that make him worthy of competing for best prizes in the game. It is clear that Catterall has real talent but there has to be a fear that he will have stagnated whilst waiting around, it has happened to plenty of fighters in the last few years.
Ohara Davies made his return to the ring, his first fight under Frank Warren, and scored a six round decision over Ahmed Ibrahim. Davies is a polarizing figure, for sure, but has the potential to be a threat domestically at 140lbs, at the least. This was a keep busy bout for Davies who will meet Josh Leather next month. Scored: 60-54
Mark Heffron blasted out Adam Grabiec in the fourth round of a scheduled six. Heffron (now 19-0 with 15 KO’s) is a real threat at Middleweight but it is time for "Kid Dynamite" to be pitted against British level opposition in order to test his credentials properly.
Manchester’s Danny Wright took a six round decision over Mikey Sakyi. Wright (9-0 with 4 KO’s) was dominant from start to finish against his London opponent and his team will now be considering Area championships at 140lbs.
Leon Woodstock put all eight rounds in the bank on way to a decision victory over Edwin Tellez. Woodstock, the current WBO European Champion, is a highly rated Super Featherweight prospect and there are plenty of mouth watering domestic contests for his team to start considering, stablemate Zelfa Barret a definite candidate.
Leeds’ own Jack Bateson scored a four round shutout over Nicaragua’s Jose Fernandez. Bateson (6-0 with 2 KO’s) is former amateur star and is looking to carrying that over to the paid ranks.
Hometown fighter, Jack Daniels wasted no time against Latvia’s Zigurds Krauklis, blasting him out in the very first round. Daniels (3-0 with 2 KO’s) will be looking for another outing in the near future after barely breaking sweat here tonight.
Reece Mould continued his undefeated start to his pro career with a four round decision over Arnoldo Solano. Mould is now 10-0 as a pro with 5 knockouts on his ledger and his team will be looking toward area titles at the very least in the near future.
Fred Evans scored a four round decision over Manchester’s Darryl Sharp in the evening’s opening contest. Evans (5-0) was a standout amateur, Olympic silver medallist, and is now looking to make a name for himself as a pro.